This keto eggplant parmesan is a recipe you’ll make repeatedly. Crispy eggplant topped with marinara sauce, two kinds of cheese and all baked in one pot. No one will know it’s low carb!
People often assume that keto dinners must incorporate meat, poultry, or dish. That is far from the truth, and some of the most delicious keto meals are completely vegetarian.
I cook vegetarian dinners at least twice a week, and they are some of my family’s favorite meals. Some of our favorites include mac and cheese and zucchini lasagna, but recently, everyone’s been raving about my eggplant parmesan.
Is eggplant keto?
Eggplant is a fantastic, keto friendly vegetable that contains just 2 grams net carbs in a one cup serving. The beauty of this vegetable is that it works well in dishes if it is the stand out ingredient.
I’m surprised at how few keto eggplant recipes I have on here, seeing as it is such a versatile and low carb vegetable. Besides my eggplant lasagna and Persian eggplant dip, there is definitely room for more!
As someone who loves Italian food, it’s no secret that I love recreating Italian dishes with a low carb spin on them. My family adores my keto chicken parmesan so, to give it a vegetarian twist, making an eggplant parmesan was an easy decision!
This keto eggplant parmesan recipe is one you’ll definitely be making on a weekly basis. Not only is it super low in carbs, but it is healthy too. It’s a great way to get a hefty dose of vegetables in and come together easily. This dish is a simple mix of pan fried eggplant and marinara sauce, all layered up with plenty of cheese. It’s cozy, comforting, cheesy, and there it doesn’t taste too much like eggplant.
What you’ll need to make this recipe
For the fried eggplant.
- Eggplant– Choose firm and tender eggplants, because the soggy or older ones yield mushy and watery eggplants.
- Salt– To draw out excess moisture from the eggplants.
- Bread crumb substitute– I prefer using keto bread crumbs as they replicate the exact texture of real bread crumbs. If you don’t have any on hand, you can use almond flour.
- Italian seasonings– A must for any Italian inspired recipe or recipe using marinara sauce.
- Eggs– Whisked together to help the bread crumbs stick to the eggplant.
- Milk– Whisked with the eggs.
- Oil– To fry the eggplant rounds in.
For the layers.
- Marinara sauce– Skip the expensive store-bought kinds and use either spaghetti sauce or pizza sauce.
- Mozzarella cheese– Freshly grated mozzarella cheese is best, as it melts better and tastes better too.
- Parmesan cheese– Adds a more intense cheesy flavor and also the golden brown edges.
- Basil– Freshly torn, to sprinkle over the cooked dish.
How do you make a keto eggplant parmesan?
Start by preparing the eggplant. Place your eggplant rounds on a large plate or baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and let it sit for an hour, to draw out the moisture. After an hour, use a paper towel to mop up the liquid.
Next, add the keto bread crumbs and Italian seasoning to one bowl and the egg and milk to another bowl. Mix both of them together and begin breading the eggplant rounds. Dip the eggplants in the egg wash, followed by the bread crumb mix, ensuring both sides are evenly coated. Repeat the process until all the eggplant is breaded.
Now, add oil to a non-stick pan. Cook the eggplant in batches for 6-7 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Now, put everything together. Add some marinara sauce to the base of a baking dish. Add a single layer of fried eggplant. To each eggplant, add a spoonful of marinara sauce, then a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Repeat this process until all the eggplant is all layered. Sprinkle the remaining cheese all over the top.
Finally, bake the eggplant parmesan for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Tips to make the best eggplant parm
- Slice your eggplant into equal sized thickness, to ensure they all cook evenly.
- Do not crowd the pan when frying the eggplant. This will take longer to cook and will cause some parts being undercooked and firm.
- Fry the eggplant rounds in an oil with a high smoke point, like peanut, safflower, or vegetable.
- Always freshly grate your cheeses, as it melts and tastes better.
Storing, freezing, reheating and make ahead instructions
- To store: Store leftovers in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days.
- To freeze: Place portions of the eggplant parm in an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.
- Reheating: Microwave portions for 30-40 seconds until warm, or reheat in a preheated oven until the cheese has melted.
- To make ahead: Prepare everything as instructed, then cover the baking dish completely in aluminum foil. Either refrigerate it for 3 days in advance or freeze it for up to 2 months in advance. When ready to cook, bring the baking dish to room temperature and bake it for 30-35 minutes. Do not bake from frozen.
What to serve with a low carb eggplant parmesan
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditional eggplant parmesan is very high in carbs, as they use flour and bread crumbs in their breading. They also often serve it over pasta or spaghetti, further increasing the carbs. This keto version is very low in carbs, yielding just 7 grams net carbs per serving.
This recipe uses healthy and wholesome ingredients. However, if you’d like to reduce the calories, you can air fry the breaded eggplant rounds and also use reduced fat cheese.
The key to avoiding a soggy eggplant parmesan is to pan fry it beforehand. Frying the eggplant rounds beforehand ensures that they are crispy and will maintain their crispiness once baked.
Keto Eggplant Parmesan
- Sprinkle salt on all your eggplant slices and let them sit for an hour to draw out moisture. Use a paper towel to dab them after they have drawn out the liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 180/350F. Grease a large baking dish and add around one cup of the marinara sauce to the bottom of it.
- In a small bowl, add the bread crumbs and Italian seasoning and mix together. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and milk and whisk together. Dip each eggplant slice in the egg wash, followed by the bread crumb mix, ensuring both sides are coated. Place them all on a plate or baking tray until ready to cook.
- Add the oil in a large non-stick pan. Once hot, add a single layer of eggplant slices and cook both sides until golden brown. Repeat until all the eggplant slices are cooked.
- Add a single layer of the fried eggplant into the base of the baking dish. Spoon a little marinara sauce on top of each one, followed by a generous layer of the mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese. Repeat the process until all the eggplant has been used up. Sprinkle the top of the baking dish any remaining cheese.
- Bake the eggplant parmesan for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is golden and bubbly. Turn it on a high broil for the last 3 minutes.
- Remove the eggplant parm from the oven and let it sit for five minutes before serving.